Plotting a Hurricane

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, this activity has real relevance for you.  Use it to practice before plotting some real hurricanes.

If you live inland, out of the path of hurricanes, this activity will lend impact to the weather news you hear about and overlook.

Either way, this plotting exercise is good practice for the scientific skill of recording!

Purpose

To practice locating coordinates on a map and to learn to predict the path of a storm.

Materials

Procedure

  1. On your map, make a small mark for each coordinate set from 1 -4 (below) showing the location of a storm named Kelly.
  2. Connect the marks with a dotted line showing the motion of the storm.
  3. Draw small arrowheads showing the direction of motion of the storm.
  4. In another color, predict with a dotted line where you think the storm will go.
  5. Look at the coordinates 5-10 to see if your prediction is correct.
  6. Finish plotting the coordinates 5 – 10, connect the marks, and draw the arrowheads showing direction.  You have completed your plot of Hurricane Kelly.
  7. Using a compass, draw a circle centered on coordinate 5.  The circle should be scaled to 100 miles in radius according to your map.  This circle shows the area which is affected by the hurricane directly.  Of course, the area of rains and slight winds will extend beyond this circle.
  8. To show the affected area of the hurricane at landfall, use coordinate 7 as the center of the circle.  All of the coastlines within this circle will undergo flooding.  Outlying areas will experience heavy rains and less flooding conditions.
  9. At the center of the circle, draw another, smaller circle of 25 miles diameter.  This smaller circle represents the eye of the storm at landfall.

Questions

  1. Where would you expect there to be the greatest flooding?  Highest tides?
  2. What is the direction of the wind at landfall?  Does this ever change?
  3. Where was the hurricane when it became a tropical storm? (This occurs when the wind speed hits 39 miles per hour)  An official hurricane?  (74 miles per hour).
  4. What happened to the hurricane after it reached land?

Time and DateNorth latitudeWest longitudeWind spd
1.Tuesday, Aug. 815°72°36 mph
2.Wednesday, Aug. 9, 8am14°75°40 mph
3.Wednesday, Aug. 9, 6pm16°77°52 mph
4.Thursday, Aug. 10, 8 am18°81°65 mph
5.Thursday, Aug. 10, 6 pm23°87°76 mph
6.Friday, Aug. 11, 8 am27°88°93 mph
7.Friday, Aug. 11, 6 pm29°92°112 mph
8.Saturday, Aug. 12, 8 am30°94°107 mph
9.Saturday, Aug. 12, 6 pm32°94°85 mph
9.Sunday, Aug. 13, 8 am38°95°35 mph

Now you are ready to plot some real hurricanes! Once again, you can download a hurricane plotting chart here.

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Hurricane Safety

Hurricane

Credit: NASA image by Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center.

Hurricane season began on June 1st and runs until November 30th.  People who live near the Gulf of Mexico or along the Eastern Seaboard are very aware of the destructive nature of hurricanes.

Many people in the past lost their lives because they had no warning of the coming storm.  The Great Galveston Storm is one such storm in which thousands of people perished.

Today, because of satellite warning systems and rapid communication, we know almost as soon as a hurricane is born that it may be coming our way.  The U.S. Air Force sends specially equipped hurricane hunter planes out into the storm to measure it and bring back better information about its speed and winds.

One of my early memories is about sitting around the kitchen table with Dad and several siblings as the wind howled in the background.   My father was explaining how a hurricane was shaped using a tea cup with a spoon in it.  As he moved the handle of the spoon around in a circle, I could visualize the winds of Hurricane Audrey right outside our windows.  The center of the storm, the ‘eye’, was represented by the spoon bowl within the cup.   When the eye of the hurricane came through, we went outside and looked at all the downed trees, broken limbs, and rubble.  When the winds began again, they were going in the opposite direction as before in exactly the way predicted by the spoon in the cup.

A good activity for those homeschoolers living around the coastlines is to interview someone who has gone through a large storm.  There are many tales of storms and they are all interesting.

Tornadoes and hurricanes teach us that God is ultimately in control.  They also show us the strength of natural forces.  We can get complacent with winds and sea because they are usually so calm and safe, but when these forces are unleashed, nothing we can do can control them.  They can be a small picture of the forces unleashed during the flood of Noah when no small area was involved but the entire Earth.

Praise God for His control of the weather!

He loads the clouds with moisture;
he scatters his lightning through them.
At his direction they swirl around
over the face of the whole earth
to do whatever he commands them.
He brings the clouds to punish people,
or to water his earth and show his love.  –Job  37:11-13

Hurricane Safety

1.  Before the storm, look out for branches or trees which are ready to fall.  If they present a hazard to the house, trim them away.

2.  Before the storm, check to see that you have fresh water, batteries, canned or dry food, candles, medicines, first aid equipment, etc.  Remember that you may lose electricity for a time.

3.  Before the storm, cover your windows or tape the plate glass in a large X across the window.  While this will not prevent your windows from breaking if they are going to, it may help contain the glass shards…

4.  Before the storm, check outside to secure any loose objects which could be damaged or be a hazard in the wind.

5.  Before the storm, check your property and possessions for safety from high water levels.  Ask yourself whether the property will be in a safe place if the water floods.  Remember past floods to determine possible high water levels.  Appliances in the garage, for example, may have to be raised to a higher level to make sure they stay out of the water.

6.  During the storm, stay inside in a protected place.

7.  After the storm, remember that the water supply may be contaminated, so you may have to use purification procedures.

8.  After the storm, remember that the snakes and other hazardous animals will also be out and in the water.  Wading in the water is not safe.

9.  Don’t interfere with emergency vehicles.  It is best to stay in your place of safety until the waters recede.  Don’t get out on the roads out of curiosity.

10.  Check with your neighbors to see if anyone needs help.

Note:  You can see that these procedures are for people in the path of the storm and who live on the coastlines.  People further away from the storm’s center will have things to do, too, but not all of these things will apply.  For example, flooding is much greater near the shore than 100 miles inland.

Do you have hurricane experience or stories to share?  Leave a comment and tell us your story!

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Seedtime and Harvest

zucchini

Ready to take a quick spin around our garden?  I’ve posted about building the garden and planting it and the challenges associated with growing ANYTHING along Colorado’s Front Range.  This month I’m posting about our harvest!

Our garden is completely walled for wind and rabbits.  Unfortunately the birds are left as the sole garden predators, and they are decimating our strawberries.  The good news is, the strawberries are growing like crazy.  The bad news is, all the ripening ones have bites out of them.  My chicken wire cover does have some gaps and as I get some time I will get the gaps closed off.  I’m amazed at the tenacity of the birds, low-crawling under the low hanging chicken wire.  Strawberries are a BIG hit with them. 

The persistence of the birds with the strawberries makes me wonder how our raspberries will fare when they eventually start to produce.  I haven’t even looked it up to see if these healthy bushes will produce this year or next, but when they do, we will have to cover them.

The tomato plants went from hanging in there to growing like mad.  I have not measured them as I intended to do as a science project with the kids, but next year, we will definitely be measuring and charting the growth.

Most of the tomato plants are now bearing, and they’re all still green.  Again, I have no idea when these guys will turn ripe, so every day is a surprise to go see what is happening in the garden.  Are they red yet?  no?  maybe tomorrow..

Bell peppers are doing great, little tiny fruit is showing on the plants.

Tomatillo peppers, likewise.

Zucchini squash are growing huge, which I am very interested in.  My favorite vegetable is going to be in abundance very soon!

Look at these little guys in there!

Little jalapeno plants planted at the end of May have started slow after some initial cold weather, but they appear to be doing great now.  I actually have two tiny seedlings that survived the post-Mothers’ Day cold rain deluge.  They are clinging to life and may not bear at all through frost, tough to say.  I’m not betting on it.

And my cilantro bed.  Lovely to look at.  The birds like it too, since I have been planting more seeds every four weeks since the beginning of May.  Hopefully they’ll miss some of the seeds so I can have a continuous supply of cilantro all summer.

 

Here is our first harvest.  Fresh cilantro for tacos.  Yum!

My kids have been learning along with me out in the garden.  They know that plants need sun, water, room to grow, protection from pests and the elements, and good soil.  They know which of our garden is fruit and which is vegetable.  They know the parts of the plants.  They know that birds like to eat seeds and berries.  Lots of good science to learn out in the garden!

For more great garden photos and stories, check out the rest of the Homeschool Village Garden Challenge linkup below!

HSV

And if you have any bird deterrence hints, please leave a comment and share them with me!

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